These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Production Cost

Mr. Roger Gaudet (Montcalm, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture has recognized that there is a problem with cull cows, but the real problem is that his program is not working. In Quebec, producers have received only $90 million out of the $366 million supposedly available to them.

Could the Minister of Agriculture confirm that he intends to cover, for each cull slaughtered, the difference between the production cost and a potential floor price?

[English]

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have been providing producers in Quebec, through our business risk management programs when they are fully availed, some $366 million. In addition to that, they have been eligible for some specific programming in terms of BSE, including the TIS program, the cull animal program and the repositioning program.

As the hon. member points out, there are issues with respect to cull cows. We have been negotiating with the Province of Quebec. We have been in discussions with UPA. We are working with them toward a solution.

[Translation]

Mr. Roger Gaudet (Montcalm, BQ): Mr. Speaker, how does the minister expect us to take him seriously, when he would not go to Quebec City to take part in extremely important negotiations, dealing with the slaughterhouse among other issues, and does not even bother to address the producers gathered at a convention to make an announcement? The minister's behaviour is pitiful.

[English]

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, here is a great example of the Bloc trying to suck and blow at the same time. The Bloc members put a motion to the House condemning the government's agricultural policy. Then they criticize the Minister of Agriculture for being in the House to address that motion. That is absolutely ludicrous, and every Canadian realizes that.

Mr. Guy Lauzon (StormontóDundasóSouth Glengarry, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is panicking over the mad cow crisis, so much so that he is refusing to meet with Quebec farmers of the UPA, although everyone would be quite satisfied to meet with his assistant.

Will he be forced to admit that he got nowhere with President Bush, or is he unable to give us a date for the reopening of our borders? We need a date.

[English]

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in respect of opening Canadian borders, we have made some very good progress.

In respect of the United States, we were pleased a week and a half ago when the rule was put into the White House office of management and budget. A particular timeframe, 90 days and counting, has begun.

In respect of other borders, I am very pleased to see that Hong Kong opened its borders to Canadian beef from animals under 30 months. I am very pleased to see the agreement that we had in China in respect of genetic material from the dairy industry. I am very pleased to see the progress we are making with Taiwan in the meetings that are happening this week.

We are making progress in opening the borders.